Living Streets

Turin, Italy

With its 890.000 inhabitants and 1.7 million in the metropolitan area, Turin is the capital of the Piemonte Region. The new millennium brought a need for renewal and transformation which has changed the face of the city both environmentally and in terms of its urban planning, boosting its cultural and tourist offer and improving the quality of life, with the aim of making Turin a “Smart City”.

Living Streets in Turin

The aims of Torino Living streets are:

  • to pursue policies and actions that promote smart and sustainable ways to grow and develop;
  • to facilitate territorial assets with citizens associations;
  • to support the transformation of the existing urban areas in living streets: oriented to pedestrians, with multi modal streets, with a vibrant mix of shops, offices, residencies and cultural initiatives.

The Campidoglio district as an experimentation area for Living Streets

Borgata Campidoglio is a historical sub-district located in the western part of Turin. This area is a piece of almost unchanged urban space and which preserves the appearance of working-class neighborhood of the end 1800, with mostly low buildings and that often feature large outdoor courtyards. This peculiarity has increased over the years, via a relationship of commonality among the inhabitants and a type of settlement that gives the impression to live in a village in the middle of the city. Campidoglio is also home to many local artists and craftsmen.

On 14&15 September and 16&17 October 2017 two Living Street events were organised in this neighbourhood. These were co-organised with the active participation of the citizens, of the shops and other associations within the neighbourhood. Besides these events attracted a lot of people outside of the area who came there for the first time.

However, there is willingness from the residents to take back the streets and organise something else in the public space. The municipality helps by proposing Laboratorio Campidoglio to facilitate meetings with the citizens, allowing contact among themselves, but letting them be the main contributors to the Living Streets event.

Some of the activities organised during the Living Streets initiative:

  • Painting workshop: what neighbourhood would you like in the future?: One of the local artists in the neighbourhood proposed a painting workshop with children on the topic “what neighbourhood would you like in the future?”.
  • Concert: Concert from the kids from the school, followed by conferences, in a private space that became public during the events.
  • Consultation of citizens: During the consultation process the citizens were asked to imagine the neighbourhood with different mobility, what kind of possibilities they see to change this area into a pedestrian area and also what they would like to put in the streets to make them more comfortable.
  • Tour of the Campidoglio district and role playing game with the primary school: A laboratory was made with the primary school who were engaged in a role playing game (children were playing roles such as a disabled person, a mum with a pushchair and little children, etc.) so that they could see with the eyes of the role they were playing which were the problems of the area. After the tour of the neighbourhood they could come back with difficulties they faced and they were aware of, permitting them to reimagine the Campidoglio district without all these difficulties.
  • Art exhibition: Local artists from the neighbourhood made a art exhibition, including paintings with some sights from the Campidoglio district. This allowed some artists to be promoted and be more well known and made people discover spesific spots in the neighbourhood illustrated in the paintings.
  • Debate on future activities: A debate was organised to think about what should be done after the Living Streets event. Citizens appreciated that Living Streets made connection between them and now they are growing as a group and want to be more autonomous. This ensures that at the end of the project people still want to act and continue this process.

The Living Streets events are a confirmation that the citizens wish to have the public area in Campidoglio without cars. So the political will is now much stronger than before to pedestrianise parts of the district. Via LS, citizens, politicians, local administrators were able to talk and exchange ideas. They rediscovered a vocation of the area: the art and crafts. The municipality aims to keep involved in the facilitation process of the initiatives in this area.

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